The five years have passed quickly since Kyle Umemba and Cesar Castro decided they wanted to run a basketball tournament for the youth of Chelsea.
“We’re just two Chelsea guys in the community giving back,” said Umemba.
Year Five for the Let It Fly Basketball Tournament is here and the best players in the area will gathering on Saturday, Aug. 10 at the Jordan Boys and Girls Club on Willow Street.
The first tournament in 2015 was held outside in 90-degree heat. The steamy weather prompted Kyle, 26, a graduate of BB&N and George Washington University, finance professional and fashion model – and Cesar, 28, a graduate of Salem State University known as “The Grand Young Man” for scoring 1,000 points in his CHS basketball career, CHS basketball coach and paraprofessional in the school district – brought the tournament indoors and it’s been played at the JGBC basketball gymnasium ever since.
According to the two co-directors, all the stuff that makes the tournament so special will be back in 2019. There will be public address announcing for each game, a DJ’s musical entertainment, free refreshments, and a raffle table.
Key community leaders such as CBC President Joan Cromwell (“We couldn’t do this without Joan,” son Kyle Umemba says proudly) and Chelsea Police Community Liaison Officer Sammy Mojica Sr. will be on hand to help make sure everything runs smoothly. Chelsea Police Officers David Batchelor and Keith Sweeney are also valuable contributors to the tournament each year.
Sammy Mojica Jr., who played college basketball at Drexel and is currently a professional player in the Puerto Rico Basketball League, will make a guest appearance. One year, NBA player Nerlens Noel of Everett, made a guest appearance.
One of the best players in the Let It Fly Tournament will be Jarnel Guzman, an All-Scholastic guard who led Lynn English to the Division 1 state championship in March.“If they’re a big name player in New England, they’ll be here,” said Castro.
Twelve teams, eight high school and four middle school, will compete for the titles. A standing room only crowd is expected throughout the day.
“It’s great energy,” said Umemba. “We want others to follow our lead and I think it’s having that kind of effect. One of our scholarship recipients, Alfredo Hernandez, held a tournament at Chelsea High School.”
“There was a tournament held at Clinton Court that was generated by our idea for a tournament,” added Castro.
Umemba and Castro aren’t sitting on their success. The plans are to take ‘Let It Fly’ national in the next few years.
And if their organizational talents in making Let It fly the premier summer hoop extravaganza in Greater Boston are any indication, we would suggest either get on aboard or get out of the way.
“We’re building a platform in Chelsea,” said Umemba.
“The important thing is that everybody has a great
time,” concluded Castro.
And if you can’t be there to enjoy the tournament in person, Chelsea Community Cable Television will be there to record the action for a broadcast.
“We’re so grateful to Mr. [Robert] Bradley and his station for covering it every year.” said the directors.